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tv   EPA Administrator Pruitt Testifies on FY 2018 Budget  CSPAN  June 19, 2017 9:03pm-11:08pm EDT

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commissioners. their speak before a senate appropriations subcommittee live at 2:00 p.m. eastern on cspan 3. >> on wednesday former homeland security jeh johnson will be speaking before the house intelligence committee. you'll be able to watch it live starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on cspan 3. you can also watch it online or stream on the cspan radio app. coming up next testimony on epa administrator scott pruitt. the request calls for deep cuts and a reduction in work force of nearly 4,000 employees. members asked mr. pruitt about those cuts and how it would impact programs affecting their districts. held in front of the house committee. this is about two hours.
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>> the committee will come to order. good morning. today we continue to keep all those affiliated by yesterday's events including our colleague steve scalise in our thoughts and prayers. we applaud the capitol police for their continued efforts, to be the first line of defense to protect public servants and visitors here to the hill. we have a few of them here with us today. thank you for all the work you do. we thank you. turning our tension tattoo the hearing, we are joined by 14th administrator to the environmental protection agency, scott pruitt. congratulations on your confirmation. you have joined a distinguished
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group. we look forward to hearing your vision and working with you to provide the resources necessary to manage an important agency. we're also joined by holly grieves, senior advisor to the administrator. i believe this is your first time testifying before the subcommittee as well. welcome to both of you. before we dive into specifics, administrator pruitt you have a tough job here today. overall the president's 2018 budget plans to shift $52 billion of defense spending to the ledger. those were tough lines to meet, and many were necessary in order to meet those targets. earlier this morning other members of the subcommittee discussed the defense budget at the hearing of secretary mattis. it under scored the need for additional funding to support our trips. i certainly support that goal.
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however, the $1,954 billion in fiscal cuts in a year -- it puts agencies and important tasks add risk. i spect that maybe a common critique you'd probably hear from other cabinet officials throughout the budget process. and that's why it's necessary i hope at some point the administration, the senate and house come together and come up with a budget agreement before we can have a common goal that we can work with. nonetheless, we appreciate your being here today to defend the budget that proposes to reduce the agencies funding by $2.4 billion. in many instances the proposal significantly reduces programs that are important to each member of this subcommittee. for example, the diesel emission
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reduction grants are essentially to improving air quality in my home state of california. so too are the target air shed drains. but the budget fails to support the targeted air shed grants. and deer grants are proposed to receive an 83% reduction. the super fun program while considered an infrastructure program for the president will reduce by 31%. this will impact new cleanups and slow ongoing cleanups. further where the budget proposes to significantly reduce other important state grants while asking states to continue to serve as principle leads to implement delegated programs. finally, most geographic programs are proposed to termination. this is perhaps not how you would craft epa's budget, but it's the budget you have to defend here today. i'm pleased the budget supports
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healthy investment and water infrastructure. the budget maintains funding for the clean water and drinking water water state revolving funds at current levels and continues to fund the new wifia program. as soon as you i strongly support the program given the ability to level additional sources of funding. it could be a game changer to stem growing backlog of needs or improve water quality and a nice clement to the srs. turning to policy, we all want clean air and clean water and a strong, robust economy. my constituents in california demand both a healthy environment and job creation. it's not an either/orproposition. in southern california we've made trumenld s improvements in our air quality over the past decades. i supported epa's decision last
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week to recalculate the implementation of the 2015 ozone standards. i remain as committed as ever to providing resources to support proven programs that actually reduce particlet matter and ozone. last year's epa budget hearing the subcommittee raised concerns that statutory obligations were given insufficient attention while new regulations were prioritized. i think it's fair to say you bring a refreshing new perspective to that position. i we look forward to hearing that perspective today. it's my hope moving forward we can work in coordination with our state, local, and tribal partners to find strong solutions to tackle the problems before us. i know all members are eager to discuss issues with you, so i
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will save additional remarks. i am pleased now to yield to my friend and fellow ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and good morning, administrator pruitt. the environmental protection agency is responsible for protecting health, environment, ensuring clean air and clean health for children. the budget you have come with us today would endanger americans, jepp jepper -- by proposing a $2.4 billion cut. a 30% cut. the last in the epa appropriations was this low was in 1990. the administration would set the agency back 30 years ignoring the environmental challenges we face today. mr. trump campaigned last year
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on an ajnda that included allowing companies to pollute our air, water, and our land. he embraced deniers. now, mr. trump is mr. president, and he is putting his anti-environment agenda into action. executive orders have directed the government to ignore significant costs of pollution and climate change to ourchy. republican passed legislation that was signed into halaw that stops the epa rule to keep coal mining waste out of our water and that waste is toxic. the most recent reckless action was the withdrawal from the paris climate agreement which has made the united states a rogue environmental nation when it comes to working on the planet's climate challenge. this budget is the latest expression of the administration's willful deniens of climate science. the epa's website and i quote
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from, the earth is currently getting warmer because people are adding heat trapping greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, that's the end of the quote. and this ignores that science and cuts funding for climate change programs 91%. this budget cut also cuts so deep that 47 programs are eliminated, many are widely supported and relied upon by energy. one of them is energy star, which has saved customers $140 billion since 1942. the budget also promotes eliminating successfully geographic programs like the chair mentioned like the great lake wrrkz pujic sound, chesapeake bay. for every $1 invested in great lakes restoration, there's $2 returned in benefits.
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these programs give the american taxpayer a great deal in return, and they also protect their resources while creating jobs and promoting growth. the trump administration has shown it's contempt for science both through this budget and through policy decisions. the budget proposes to cut the epa's office of research development by $237 million or 46%. this office provides the foundation for credible science to safeguard human health from environmental pollutions. administrator pruitt, under our leadership the epa kis mised worked on on research and development when you canceled the ban on a harmful pesticide. i have a letter from the american academy of pediatrics which they asked the epa to protect vulnerable children and women to this pesticide because this pesticide damages
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children's brains. yet this evidence was disregarded and now this budget will stifle the very analysis. the budget also cuts state agency's funding proposing that the grants be cut 44%. that's $469 million. these cuts will cripple state's ability to implement programs that protect public health. but i would be remiss if i did not call tension to the agency's work force. this budget proposes to cut nearly 3,800 employees. these are experts and officers that protect the people from toxins, carcinogens, radioactive waste. we forget we owe them a debt of gratitude every time we turn on the tap water we drink from. it is safe.
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as we know, mr. chairman, president trump can propose this destructive budget and administrator pruitt can come here and defend it or promote. 178 democrats and 131 republicans voted together to fund the epa at a level that funds the agency and protects public health. mr. chairman, i want to thank you for working with democrats to achieve that very positive outcome our nation. and as we move forward, i know we will once again rely on each other to have a positive relationship. however, i want to be clear i am not support an appropriations committee that funds the epa below the 2017 current level.
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radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. this committee both democrats and republicans has always worked together to support ratop don. so as a member of congress i believe we cannot allow the harm be done to american people that this budget would reflect. and i thank the chair pln for the time, and i yield back. >> thank you. i'm going to recognize ms. loy. thank you. thank you, very much, mr. chairman and ranking member mccullen for holding this hearing. and welcome administrator pruitt. i have been eagerly awaiting your testimony before this subcommittee. i'll get straight to it. the fiscal year 2018 budget
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request for epa is a disaster. you've requested $5.655 billion, and staggering $2.4 billion below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, a cut of more than 30%. while you claim most of these cuts will be part of a substantial reduction in work force, would surely impact epa's ability to fulfill its critical mission of protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink. between your disturbingly close ties to the oil and gas industries, your past work to directly undermine the epa and skepticism that human activity plays a role in climate change, i suppose it's surprising you didn't propose to eliminate the agency all together. let's be clear, members of
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congress from both sides of the aisle, scientists, business leaders, and a vast majority of americans agree man-made climate change is real, and it poses a threat to our planet that must be confronted quickly and seriously. here are the facts. facts, carbon emissions are creating holes in our ozone layer and contributing to changing and often dangerous weather patterns around the world. climate change has manifested as cat trophic events that threaten our national security and the livelihoods of american families. yet this administration is burrying its head in the sand, and according to a new poll conducted by "the washington post" abc news, 59% oppose
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president trump's decision to withdraw from the paris agreement, which has ensured a unified, global response to combat rising carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere. a substantial 55% of people surveyed feel this decision has hurt u.s. leadership in the world. your budget request further demonstrates a willful ignorance to the pressing threat that climate change poses. among the most egregious reductions and eliminations are a reduction of over $300 million for the hadderdous substance super fund, also including the long island sound geographic program and a reduction in scientific research and
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development. we have a moral responsibility to safeguard our planet and ensure that our children and grandchildren have a healthy future. this budget would fall short of this obligation. i do hope that congress will reject in a bipartisan way this dangerous budget and instead adopt spending bills that would invest in combating climate change, keeping our air and our water clean, and creating jobs, creating jobs for the 21st century economy, especially green jobs of the future. thank you, mr. chairman. >> okay. mr. pruitt, administrator pruitt, thank you for being here today. and you're recognized for your opening remarks. >> well, good morning, chairman calbert, ranking member
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mccullen, members of the subcommittee. it's good to be with you hear this morning. and thank you for the opportunity to discuss the epa's proposed budget. i'm welcome to introduce you hally grieves. i pray for the recovery and protection as they yield forward, and and just want to share that with you and members of committee. >> thank you. >> with the budget being the focus of our discussion today, thought it important to note to bring it back to its core mission. specifically as part of its back to the basics agenda we're focused on improving air quality, cleaning up contaminated land, and carrying out the very important updates this congress passed last year, getting rid of a chemical backlog that existed of which you're familiar. the first is to focus on rule of
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law. we were reversing an attitude and approach that one can simply reimagine authority by statutes of this body. it is congress who has the constitutional authority to pass statutes and give agency the direction on the environmental objectives that we seek to achieve as a nation. any action by the epa that exceeds that authority cannot be granted to. regulations through litigation is something we will not continue at the epa. and we will make sure that processes is expected and implemented so people across the country can have voice, due process as we enact regulations and impact the environment in an important way. as you know very well a one-size
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fits all strategy to achieve environmental outcomes doesn't work. what may work in arizona, may not work in tennessee. i will continue to ingij in meaningful discussion with you about how shared environmental goals related to these outcomes can be achieved. with respect to the budget and these principles and priorities i outlined, i believe we can fulfill the mission of our agency with a trimmed budget. we will work to help focus on national priorities with respect to resources you provide. and we will focus on core missions, responsibilities, working with the states to improve air, water, and land. as i've indicated, clean air goes to had heart of human health. we've made tremendous progress as a country plsh through significant investment, regulations, and industry and citizens across this country working together. in fact since 1980 total
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emissions of the six criteria puluentants we regulate have dropped by over 65% and ozone levels, as you know have dropped by 33%. we should celebrate this progress but recognize there's work to do. we do have much work to do. and it should be the focus of the epa to find ways to help increase the number of people living and working in areas that meet those air quality standards. the president has made it clear that maintaining instruct is critical to this country. we will continue to partner with the states to address sources of drinking water contaminationination. these efforts are end grl to infrastructure because source water protection can reduce the need of water treatment and unnecessary costs. like mr. trump, i believe we need to work with states to achieve what is best for these
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outcomes. with regard to contaminated land, we're going to finish bad actors. and that means our job punish those who violate the law tuesday the de-- we will work wr state partners to achieve enforcement goals. when we don't stay within the law, we create inp consistency within the community. we need to the outline exactly what is expected across this country, because when we do our job well, we create good environmental outcomes. mr. chairman, ranking members, committee, i appreciate the opportunity to share briefly these priorities, i look forward to working with you to protect
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human health and make sure we have clean air and water. >> thank you for your oemg statement. we have a full committee markup of the bill scheduled at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon. therefore in order noo us to finish hearings by 1:00 for low allowing a break, i courage members to abide by the five minute rule for questions and answers today. i know mr. simpson needs to leave by noon to go to our friend's funeral. bill heck, and if it's okay with other members i'd like to recognize mr. simpson. >> yeng that's very appropriate, mr. chair. >> thank you. >> first, i've got a couple of specific questions. one of them is the epa has jurisdiction and oversight on
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the best pesticide -- last year the congress passed the pesticide legislation improvement act. in recent years we've seen lower levels of funding leading to an erosion of timely reviews. while on the positive side the opp wasn't cut as much in this budget as other programs in the epa. the president's budget proposes to cut well below the mandated minimum. job creators and others in this district would not have the access to essential crop tools. how can we ensure it can run effectively and under the current budget proposal? >> you're right, it does not impose any new pesticide fees. it expands the current. but the reautheration of pre i
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think is very important as we head into this. there are three new rules we're obligated to issue this year. those rules are on track, just to let you. know. and secondly the backlog of chemicals, we're going to have them entirely addressed by the end of july. that was a priority i set when i came into the position. we reassigned fte's to really focus on that. i want to commend their efforts to reduce this backlog. your question is very important with respect to pria and these fees that are necessary to carry out these functions. i agree with your assessment there. >> i appreciate that. and one other program that's proposed boo be eliminated in this budget, and the previous administration, the obama
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administration proposed to eliminate it, too. there are many rural communities that don't have the access to technical assistance for their water systems and so forth. and the real water technical u sestitance program is very important for these communities to be able to get that assistance because they wouldn't be able to afford it otherwise. >> when you look at water infrastructure it's clear in rural communities and tribal communities, the partnership that has existed historically between the epa and those communities is very important to ensure its drinking water perspectively. and saz we go through this process, i look forward to working with you on that issue. >> many western states face undue hardship including the proposed circla financial assurance rule, the arsenic standards which are below background levs in many states.
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i'm pleased the administration has taken steps to provide relief from the financial ainsurance rule. it's very much appreciated in my part of the country. the western states have had a very hard time to get the state to imp prove their implementation plans. instead the epa would overrule them. how do you view -- what is your perspective on the arsenic standard? >> this is very important as we look at statutes congress has enacted. the partnership you've actually put into statute in my estimation has been disregard for the last several years. it's not particular to one administration. i think it's just evaufbld in that direction. you have to get involved with the states to partner with the epa to achieve good water quality and air quality.
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we actually have a backlog, and this is something that i mentioned the chemicals to you. we have a backlog of over 700 state implementation plans that have not been responded to at all by the agency. that's unacceptable. and we need to provide answers in that regard. and we will work very diligently to achieve that, congressman. >> thank you, i appreciate that. and we look forward to working with you. >> thank you, gentleman. ms. loy. >> thank you, very much. administrator pruitt, the budget proposes to eliminate the enkrn disrupters program. are you aware of it. >> yes, ma'am. i just didn't hear you very well. i apologize. >> no program. i'm happy to discuss it. through this program epa screens pesticides, chemicals, environmental contaminants to
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determine their potential effect on human hormone systems. human production in males and females, abnormal growth patterns and neuro developmental delays in children increases breast cancer and changes to immune function. i knew thea colburn. but i wouldn't be surprised in hearing this program, she comes back up to talk to us. her work changed safety. because of her research bpa is banned in baby bottles and pcbs have been dredged out of the hudson river in new york. this is the perfect example of senseless cuts that will cost us more in the long run with threats to public health and safety that are costlier in
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treasure and possibly in lives. we have more to learn of what possibly chemicals in the air are doing to us. how do you justify eliminating fund frg this program? yount alarmed between the link of chemicals in the environment and consumer products, changes to hormones, health, development of people and animals? what should epa's role be? >> congresswoman, i do share your concerns. our hope is we can study them using cur anteavailable tiered testing, battery systems and models to achieve that. but you raise a very important question. it's something -- the program was established in 1996 as you know, has had a significant impact.
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and it's something as we study the proposal and talk with congress, this is our approach presently but look forward to input on how this can be restoerd or addressed in a different way. >> that's great news. and i don't even ask my next question. i want to thank you for your consideration. this is such an important program. and i do hope you will adraesz address all of our concerns today so that we can to have an epa that protects us. i want to tell you a mother, grandma of eight, i really worry about issues like this. and it would be so irresponsible if we don't continue to move forward. so thank you so much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> if i could, that office as i indicated the task updates that congress proied last year, the work's that's got in our chemical office has really been extraordinary sibs having come into this position. that was the backlog that i
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mentioned to you on the new chemicals that they worked extremely diligently to address. it's quite something that in 120 something or so days that entire backlog is going to be addressed. and that sends a message to citizens across the country it's a priority. as new chemicals enter the flow of commerce, the epa is going to do its job in the time frame set by this body and we can get those things done in an efish way. >> i'm delate lited to hear about your focus on efishiancy, but why would you recommend cutting a program that saves lives? i hope we can work together and make some changes in these recommendations. thank you. >> thank you. >> next, chairman of the full committee. >> mr. secretary, we haven't
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made acquaintance, but good morning. pleasure to meet you o you, and want to thank mr. calbert for the time. we obviously respect for proposal for your department but ultimately it will be this committee and our senate counterparts that will determine the final outcome. i share some of the animus that's aimed at your agency by different groups. i kind of share some of that frustration because of the huge bureaucracy but i also come from the nation's most densely populated state, new jersey. and we are home to a historical background which shows us to have more super fun sites than any other state in the nation. i'm probably one of the few
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members of congress that actually highlights our history. i visit the sites in my district. i work very closely with the new jersey department of environmental protection. and you have a damn good team that comes out of region three in new york. i know there's been a proposal here to reduce substantial funding for this program. i think you're aware that 70% of the program is -- money for the program comes from the polluters, the polluters pay, about 30% comes from the american taxpayer. i would just like to say that i think it's good to sort of move with precaution and caution before you take any -- too many dramatic steps. >> this area of super fund is absolutely a priority for this administration. i think there's a significant amount of opportunity we can achieve for the benefit of
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citizens in cleaning up contaminated sites. i think as i've gotten into the agency and evaluated the entire portfolio, there have been many on that national priority list for decades. languishing for direction, leadership, answers in some instances about how we're going to remediate sites. one example is a site just outside st. louis, the national facility that was listed in 199 o0. the site is unique that it has 80 pounds of arraignium commingled with 38,000 tons of solid waste. and it's been redistributed over a geographical area. there's not been a decision whether to cap the site or escavate the site.
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that's just poor leadership. it's not serving the citizens in the st. louis area or the country. so we're review newing our focus to provide clear direction how we're going to achieve outcomes. funding could be an issue, and it's something that i'm going to talk to congress about. you've indicated the objective is to hold potentially responsible parties accountable to make sure they fund the remediation effort. so our goal is to get accountability from those prps, provide certainty. if funding ever becomes an issue with respect to orphan sites azine example, we will address those with you and make you aware of those concerns. >> i look forward to working with you. we have a lot of people on narrow spaces as we are. we are committed to clean air and clean water, and this is one
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of the issues that's important to our entire delegation. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman i take your sincerity in answering about wanting to answer her question about the disrupters are going to be funded for research in the future. but i'm quite baffled about how you're going to have any tools in the toolbox to do that. once again the epa, it's reduced by $2.4 billion, 30% below 2017. radon zeroed out, super funds slashed. brown fields slashed. so you can have a conversation with us and say you're going to look and make sure these things are going to happen, but i don't know how it can happen when we're cutting the epa's overall
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budge bite $2.4 billion. for example, the pesticide ban, which i mentioned in my opening statement and as clorra para fosse -- everybody says it differently because nobody knows how to say it right, but it's important we do learn how to say it right because this chemical is very dangerous. in 2017 the epa completed a human revised risk assessment. it was very thoroughly peer reviewed. i think when science is looking at what to do about pesticides and toxic chemicals, do no harm is their first goal. the epa determined there is serious concern for long-term health and neuro development effects in prenatal and possible
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early life expoekser. they do come up with some toxins they do find safe levels with, but on this one they couldn't find anything. so i'm curious to know, you were there a month and this was reviewed, how did you come to find yourself disavowing, going backwards, not looking at any of the peer -- the scientific peer review on this pesticide. and then with all the other cuts and the cuts in research, how am i going to have confidence that the best science was used, that we do no harm to women who are pregnant, we do no harm to children who are born, you know, with possibly having all these toxins lingering in their systems. >> you know, you mentioned several programs that you were concerned about, super fund and others. and i think there are some of those programs from a management
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perspective, will be easier for us to address the proposed cuts than others. with the super fund program, 70% of that portfolio is privately funded. and we've collected over billions of dollars since the inception of the program to address cleanup. my estimatation is more about decision making, leadership than money recently. there are others you cited that may be more funding than leadership. but with respect to what you were talking, the usda had a completely different perspective and made the epa aware of that as the process was ongoing. and we basised that decision as we base every decision. it was based on meaningful science. >> could you provide this
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committee with a the peer science from the other agency as well as the science from this agency. >> the usda will provide that, yes. >> i want their peer reviewed science by comparable science not someone's opinion. oc, can you go back, though, with the cuts that i mentioned and with the questions that you're being asked to you, will you stand up and make sure peer reviewed science is happening, with the cuts to over 3,000 employees, how does that happen? i mean i can -- i can wish for a lot of things, but in reality i have to figure out how i make those things happen. and with using real dollars, real employees. so you told me rule of law was your first and foremost concern. i have to tell you rule of law is very important.
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i'm a person that obeys a law, but the epa's mission is to protect public health first and foremost in my opinion. do you disagree with that. not at all. and i think with respect to our science, it's important that we prioritize the mission of those respective offices insofar as as how we're going to use the science. the science should be in support of rule making. the primary function of epa is to carry out statutory requirements that congress has required, across the board and engage in rule making in the administration of those statutes. >> so does this go to the change that's happened on the epa's website before january 30, 2018, standards were science-based, pure reviewed science, safe levels of pollutants. language has disappeared from the mission statement. and now it states what is
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economically and technology available standards. so that's the significant change for me. is that what you're talking about with rule making? >> no, what we had a responsibility to do in rule making is build a record and make a decision based on informed science and those across the country to make it to where rules are going to impact them. and that's going to continue from clean water, clean air, the air office across the board. science is going to be key to what we do. it's going to be key to inform rule making. each of the rule office actually has science embedded in those offices as well. so the proposed cuts, we are going to be able to carry out our core mission of supporting rule making that based transparent and peer reviewed and based upon real data that's not moncentered -- excuse me is
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moncentered and collected. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i know there's others that have questions. i have two other questions i need to get to later, but at this point i will yield back my time. >> thank you. next, mr. rogers. >> thank you. mr. administrator, welcome to the hearing. most people don't know that the director, the administrator is a native ken tuckian and then ran off to oklahoma where he was educated in tulsa law school. but welcome, and we're proud of you, mr. pruitt. >> thank you. >> i want to talk to you about the culture of overreach in that agency. time and again over the last few years federal courts have held that the agency was overreaching
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its legal authority, engaging in activities that are not authorized by the united states congress. and that became a practice that repeated itself time and again. but it had devastating impacts on certain parts of the country including mine and the coal fields where the war on coal led by epa resulted in some 10,000 or 12,000 miners losing their home in my region alone. so we don't take kindly to that type of thing. what will you be doing to change the culture of overreach in that agency where the employees, both career and political, engaged in
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overstepping their authority time and time again? what can we expect? >> well, the ranking member made reference to this as well. and i think that when i mention rule of law, it's not intended to be something that's academic at all. it has real -- when you disrespect rule of law, had and what that fundamentally means is when you take statutes passed by congress and act in a way that's not authorized, it creates uncertainty. you mentioned actions and we can go from the power plan to others, subject to stays by the u.s. supreme court and the sixth circuit respect lav, what that creates in the marketplace is what's expected. it's in10ed to be practical. because when the agency carries out its functions consistent with the authority you provided,
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those types of lost go away, and you can provide the certainty to citizens and working together to partner to achieve environmental outcomes. so when i mention that, we're going to stay within we're not going to reimagine it. we're not going to create it. we're going to let you know when those deficiencies arise. we've talked about super fund a couple times today. if there are concerns that we have as far as being able to carry out responsibilities on the superfund program, and we think there's a legislative response necessary, we will advise you. and because we need the help of congress to achieve these environmental outcomes as well. >> and what about your staffing size? in your budget request you indicate quite clearly about the reduction in personnel. can you elaborate on that? >> well, i think with respect to the proposed cuts on personnel, that is something that we planned to achieve through attrition, continuation of the hiring freeze, and the
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initiation of buyouts. about 20% of the agency is eligible for retirement today. that's going to increase over the next several years. as you know, we talked about in this budget of having 25,000 per employee that seeks to retire. that's how we're going to address the proposed cuts to personnel. about half our employees are in the regions across the country, half the employees approximately are in washington, d.c. the regional concept is very important. because you want offices dispersed across the country partnering with states and those across the country to ensure that we're working together in a partnership format. so this regional concept is very important. as far as the personnel reductions, those are the steps we are taking to reduced proposed budget. >> thank you. >> mr. kilmer. >> thanks, chairman. and thanks for being with us. good morning.
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i appreciate the chairman's comments and the ranking member's comments at the opening of this hearing raising concerns about some of these proposals and how it affects your agency's mission of protecting the environment and human health. i could spend five minutes going through some of the concerns i have on that regard. and i have five. but my hope and my expectation is that this committee will do better. and we'll do that in a bipartisan way. i'm not going to ask you to defend what i look to be indefensible. i want to talk about a specific issue. my colleagues on this committee have often talked about the role the epa plays in local communities. we actually want the epa to be engaged on an economic issue and environmental issue. we can't afford the epa to check out on puget sound recovery. our region has 3,200 people whose livelihoods are tied to shellfish growing. those are jobs that generate over $180 million in revenue in our state. they depend on clean water. they depend on puget sound.
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you talked about going back to basics and part of that is a focus on clean water. they depend on that and this budget jeopardizes that for them. our marine industry supports the fishing fleets am -- and our seafood processors and billions of dollars of revenue. over 57,000 direct jobs in our region. you know, tourism and recreation dollars. people come to our area to fish. they come to see orcas. they depend on clean water and a healthy puget sound. so money -- and i also add, money spent on puget sound recovery, has a direct impact on jobs and the economy in my state. democrats and republicans, business leaders, the conservation leaders all agree on that. every dollar the epa invests on puget sound leverages $24 in state and tribal funding to try to clean up this challenge.
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if the administration's committed to growing the economy and bolstering jobs in rural areas, i would say that's not reflected in this budget. have you said this is a back to bakes approach intended to return responsibility to the states. i want to remind you of the obligations of the federal government in this regard. there are 19 tribes with treaty rights, treaty reserve rights to fish in puget sound. do you acknowledge that obligation? >> yes. >> there are multiple federally protected species including orcas and chinook salmon that call puget sound their home. do you acknowledge the presence of those species in the sound. >> yes. there was an application for a no discharge zone for the entire puget sound. and i actually am very sympathetic and sensitive to that application because of the things you're describing. >> so the epa has also mandated obligations under the clean water act and the federal water
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pollution crow act and multiple other obligations. do you acknowledge those are statutory obligations of your agency? >> absolutely. >> so listen, i'm all for partnership with the states and i agree with the fact that there isn't one size fits all, but my question is this. why should states and rural communities be stuck holding the bag for the federal government? >> they shouldn't. and that's something as we've seen over the last several years, this cooperative model. this goes back decades, as you know, to achieve good environmental outcomes. we need to rely upon the expertise it, information, res of those at the state level to partner with the epa. the epa has an important role. a very important role. there are water quality issues that cross state line. there are responsibilities that you've identified that are statutory. we're going to carry out those responsibilities along with the states and ensure there's a partnership. my first weekend after having been sworn in, we had 18 to 20 governors in my office on a sunday and we talked about these very issues, from
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super fund to remediation, how do we achieve those things together and from democrats and republicans they said to me, thank you for listening so we can have a voice in the process. it hasn't happened for a number of years. we can learn but shouldn't advocate responsibility to your point and we won't abdicate responsibility. >> but the budget produced zeros out funding to support this effort. >> more specifically which effort. >> puget sound recovery. >> as i indicated, the puget sound application for no discharge is something i'm very interested and concerned about but also the grant program is similar to others. the great lakes initiative, the long island initiative that was mentioned earlier. those are important. those are important partnerships that have existed for a number of years. as we go through the process together, i want to work with you to achieve good outcomes in each of those areas. >> i would just emphasize, it is important that the federal government not leave states holding the bag. you look at state agencies. you know, between a quarter and a third of state agency environmental agency budgets depend on federal support.
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and i don't know how we can expect states to take on more of your agency's obligations with less money. >> let me say too, we need to also recognize that with respect to sipps, we were talking about this earlier, a backlog of over 700 where states have done their job and actually submitted to the agency a plan to achieve better air quality and the agency simply has not responded. we can do better in many areas to improve that partnership. you mentioned some but that's important, as well. >> i yield back. >> mr. joyce. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome again, mr. pruitt and miss screevy. i'm a little bit concerned also about the impact of the mulvaney budget on the efforts to clean up the great lakes and leverage them as an economic asset for our region. i say that in jest for mr. mulvaney having been a former member. for example, in my home state of ohio, 3 million people receive drinking water from lake erie
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and tourism generates more than $14 billion in spending annually and nearly 25,000 jobs. -- 125,000 jobs. 40 million tons of cargo are shipped through the authorized ports on lake erie. we see these types of benefits in other states that border the great lakes. and for this reason, our great lakes delegation has greatly supported the initiative. this program is facilitating collaboration among our states, federal government as making real progress in solving some of the most serious problems. it is helping communities revitalize waterfront areas creating jobs and new economic development. in my district, creating up sediments allowed for the return of normal shipping and sustained the economic viability of the city's port. for us, cleaning up the lakes isn't about correcting mistakes from the past but creating new opportunities and a brighter future for our shoreline communities. the president's budget, i
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misspoke there. the mulvaney budget would cripple our collective efforts, halt the progress we're making and undermine investments we have made to date. funding has been instrumental in implementing costly clean-up projects such as the ashtabula river. sem -- simply put, this work wouldn't happen without federal support. for example, more than 40% of the cost of the contaminated sediment clean-ups has been provided by nonfederal money. this money will be left on table and many projects will not move forward if the glra is eliminated. in addition, the bulk of our efforts to prevent the interdux of asian carp -- millions of pounds of phosphorus will contribute to harmful algae blooms. it is clear funding is critical to restore the great lakes.
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equally important epa's role as a coordinator program. coordinating work among multiple federal, state and tribal agencies, providing technical support, establishing science based goals and mentioning efforts with canada. epa has been key to the success of the glra. can you explain to us how these functions will be maintained if the glri is eliminated? >> you've said it well. thank you for your comments and your summary. had body for a number of years recognized the importance of the initiative. we at the agency have recognized that, as well. as we start this process and continue the process, we look forward to working with you to address the objectives, the water quality objectives and you mentioned invasive species, as well. we want to make sure that the states affected, the commerce that's a part of the great lakes is preserved and we address that going forward in this budget. >> the great lakes interagency task force and great lakes
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advisory board, will it be maintained? >> i think, congressman, as we go through this i think what's important is to recognize the priority of the initiatives that have been historically prioritized by this body. we are going to work with you to ensure those priorities are addressed. in whatever form it takes. >> will the cost share approach to cleaning up contaminated sediments under the great lakes legacy act continue? >> i think from a state perspective, we've talked to many of the governors that are impacted by these issues and we are engaged in discussions with them how we can have a more vibrant shared approach. but as far as the funding that has been proposed to be reduced and or eliminated under this budget, i'll echo what i've already shared with you. we recognize the importance of the great lakes, the importance to the citizens in that region and we're going to work with congress to assure those objectives are obtained. >> i can appreciate the fact your agency has provided the
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leadership in what i think is the way government should work. agencies all working together on a common go, sharing information and getting to an end result. the money that we've got there, it was needed for over a period of years. last year, in the bill, we managed to pass 300 million for five years so the agencies won't have to worry about the stop start approach of not knowing what money is coming in next year so why start the research. from the '70s to now, the great lakes has made a tremendous difference and your agency's leadership in that tantamount to making it happen. >> you said it well in your summary and comments. it's the money but also the facilitation. it's the coordination that the agencies provided historically to each of those interested parties and stakeholders both private as well as states. that's important we recognize that and continue it. >> simply put, the mulvaney budget appears to largely remove the federal government as a
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partner in all our work to resolve and manage the great lakes. is that fair? >> i think there are functions that the agency can perform outside of again the funding and or appropriations we've cited some of those. as an example, the chesapeake tmbl is an example of states coming together to address nonpoint source and the agency provided leadership and management in that area. i think that's similarly true to the great lakes area, as well. obviously, money is important. i think this leadership role is important, as well. that's going to continue. >> it's not just lake erie of which we're proud, congresswoman captor will follow up on questions regarding this. i don't view the great lakes as a series of lakes. it is a national treasure. given the national savings, is it fair to expect states and local communities to shoulder the burden of caring for them? >> we view those states as partners and stakeholders and will continue to view them in
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that fashion as we go forward. it's important we show leadership but work with each of the stakeholders to achieve the good outcomes. >> i appreciate your moving up in line. i have exceeded my time. thank you very much for your time here. >> thank you. next, miss pingree. >> thank you, administrator pruitt for being with us today. it's my first chance to get to know you a little bit. i hope we can find ways to work together although you've heard a lot of us on the committee have deep concerns with the president's budget. i hope we can coerce you into making some changes in this budget as we move along. i need to say like some of my colleagues before me, we certainly disagree with the administration's stand on the paris accord. i come from the state of maine where people have a lot of concerns bps climate change and it has an effect on our lives every day. i want to just mention, i was with a group of bipartisan group of colleagues in germany a couple weeks ago when the announcement was made. a lot of colleagues in the government over there were so shocked that we would make this
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decision and also worried that they couldn't trust the united states anymore to keep with an agreement. i want to echo those sentiments. i want to get into more specifics. sometimes we put these vice presidential issues and talk about them as the idea of it's environmental extremists against businesses. as someone who understands the importance of the haven't and environment and the economy working together and how much i hear about it in my constituents, climate change is very real. it's not an environmental platitude. i live in a lobster fishing area. i would say probably that the highest lobster landings in the world are in my -- in the penobscot bay where i will. i see the fishermen every day. they look at me with this fear in their eyes of saying what are we going to do? the ocean is warming around us. we're watching the migration of lobsters up into the coast and once they get to canada, they're going to belong to them, not us. we don't get them back. we've seen the disappearance in the shrimping industry.
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as mr. kilmer said, between the fishing industry and tourism, these are important to our identity, important economically and i can't go home and say to people this isn't really happening. i cannot can't go to home to say to people in the shellfish industry, ocean issues don't exist. we may sometimes disagree about the causes of climate change but doing something about it is critical. we can't back out of agreements. i also represent a huge coastline. with sea level rising we may not see it every day the way they do in miami beach but when people try to get a mortgage or sell their home or get insurance. these are economic issues. when you talk about uncertainty in the marketplace whether it's fishermen or farmers or people in coastal communities, these are the people i deal with every day and they're looking at this with fear and concern and saying to me, what am i going to tell my grandchildren if we don't do something about it. that's my first concern. the second one and i feel a little bit like mr. kilmer. i could go on for 500 minutes.
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i feel confident the chair won't let me do that. kind as he is. there's the economic question for natural resources states and maybe you say one size doesn't fit all. and it's not the same in oklahoma. i understand. i understand it's different when the fossil fuel industry is in your backyard. i represent a state in the tail pipe of the fossil fuel industry. i want to talk about clean air. we have deep concerns about the cuts in this budget and your approach to this. and i'm looking for any way i can to work with you, but people in my area have deep concerns. your attorney general sued the environmental protection agency, that disagreed with these ideas, that was the head of the republican attorney generals association that got a lot of money from the fossil fuel association. we all get criticized for who supports the work we do. i want to take you at your word. i want you to hear in my state, we've been the 80th -- we're the most oil dependent state in the nation. we know how hard it is to get
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over our fossil fuel dependence. and we're deeply concerned about cuts potentially to energy independence because if we can't have more solar and more wind, we can't have that healthy balance. and we're deeply concerned about the rollback of clean air rules and the cuts in this administration. we have one of the highest rates of childhood asthma. that's just a tragedy, the fact that so many people in our state have to deal with impacts of being at the end of the tail pipe about coal-fired power plants and the dirty air coming to our state. what do you think it's like to see the highest rate of emergency room admissions because of asthma or to have ozone alerts in the middle of tourism season? we can't say don't come visit our state because the air is going to be dirty right now you. said uncertainty in the marketplace. this creates a lot of uncertainty. so you've heard a lot of our concerns. you said we should celebrate the downturn in co2 levels.
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those are because we've had higher fuel efficiency standards and because we've invested more in clean energy. but your budget does all the opposite. it also cuts your commitment to our states and we can't leave states holding the bag. about 100 employees at our department of environmental protection are funded through the federal government. we don't get that money back if you take it all away. so obviously, i piled on you with a million concerns. it's only a few. i think i represent what i'm hearing every day. and i don't see how more cooperation or more efficiency replaces those $4,000 employees you're about to cut or puts money back into the programs we care about. >> let me say first that i look forward to us as you indicated working together. i appreciate you saying that. it's something that i endeavor to do, as well with respect to attainment issues, it actually is a priority of our administration to focus on achieving better attainment outcomes. as you know when you look at asthma, you mentioned asthma,
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the two the criteria pollutants we regulate under the program, there are several, six, but two of them predominantly impact asthma, particulate matter and ozone. the pm 2.5 standard is better than any in europe. we are making i believe tremendous progress toward achieving good health outcomes for our citizens but congresswoman, i believe we can do more. when i say celebrate progress, i think we have to recognize we have prioritized as a country, that we should recognize the success we've achieved but it doesn't mean we stop. it means we work with the states to get better data. not model data but monitored data. realtime data. and then focus on compliance and assistance with those states to achieve better outcomes in the program. with respect to co2, i want to say to you, the president when he announced withdrawal from the paris accord said something else, as well. he said that he wanted to continue engagement on this issue.
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i just left the g-7. i spent four days with my counterparts. we started bilateral discussions. i started discussions with them with respect to our continued leadership with respect to co2 production. and that's another area we need to recognize the progress we've made. you mentioned the progress we've made through government regulations, predominantly in the mobile source area. but innovation and technology has brought about a tremendous amount of co2 reductions peck -- particularly fracking and drilling. what we should be focused upon as a nation using var forms of energy from coal to hydro to renewables, we need to focus on using the latest technology that reduces emissions in a meaningful way and focusing on leading international discussions that kind of
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innovation technology. the president made it clear. this is not a sign of disengagement. we're going to approach it from a way of producing real action through the implementation of what we've done the past several years. >> i appreciate your thoughts. and i hope it is not a sign of disengagement. and that we are in going to be continued on co2. i'm not clear how we do that if we reduce funding for all these areas. i hope you can continue talking to me about that. >> if i may, in this regard, it's very important that congress -- congress does not address this from a stationary source perspective. we have tremendous regulation in the mobile source category. the auto sector has taken significant steps to reduce emissions and done an extraordinary job. as far as the stationary sources when you look at the clean air act, i don't know how many of you were here in 1990 when the act was amended. if you ask members that amended that act in 1990 including congressman dingell, he described regulation of co2 under the clean air anticipates
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as being a glorious mess. that's how that framework is used. we have to ask the question at the epa, we can't just make up our authority. we can't just make up processes to address whatever objectives that have been identified. we have to receive authority and direction and process from this body. so as we evaluate steps that we're going to take at the agency, it will be focused upon what are the tools in the toolbox we have? if there is a deficiency of the tools we'll let you know and advise you accordingly. it's very important we recognize that. >> i just hope that we can discuss the clean power plant again because that was about stationary clean air. >> thank the gentle lady. i'm going to recognize mr. cole. sense we -- since we brought up clean air, and i haven't asked any questions. i'm going to real briefly say that the clean air act is obviously very important to me and certainly to my state.
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and certainly my area. in fact, as you know, administrator, that california was probably -- it was the first state to start cleaning up its own air. before 1963, before the clean air act was even envisioned, california had already started stepping forward to clean up its air and to step up with pollution rules. as a matter of fact, you know, there's a history of bipartisan cooperation. it was jerry lewis who was a congressman here who helped create the south coast air quality basin. so certainly, there's a lot of concerns about clean air. that's shared with my governor reagan when he was governor in 1966. and provisions in california to deal with that. in fact, one thing that's important to california is our waiver. we've had these waivers for over 50 years.
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and so i want to ask the question, do you plan to copy the clean air act preemption waiver that hc granted to california? >> currently -- currently, the waiver is not under review. you're right, this has been something that has been granted. going back to the beginning of the clean air act, because of the leadership that california demonstrated it was preserved as you know in the original writing of the clean air act. it's important we recognize the role of states in achieving good air quality standards. that's something we're committed to in the agency. the waiver is not currently being reviewed by the epa. >> thank you. mr. cole? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and i'm going to start with a point of personal privilege if i may because i think i have probably known the administrator longer than anybody on this panel. for well over 20 years. i was the secretary of state when he was elected to the state senate in 1996 if i remember correctly. and then frankly was one of many people that urged him to run for attorney general in oklahoma in
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2009. he did that and he won that campaign. and he did the job so well, that nobody filed against him for re-election as either republican or democrat. so i just assure my colleagues on the panel you may have disagreements over budgets or policies or what have you, but you will find that the administrator is unfailingly professional, is unfailingly courteous, will look for ways to work with you. not against you. and will handle himself in an absolutely bob board and ethical manner. and he's got pretty good people around him. i see his chief of staff. i've known ryan for a lot of years, too. he worked for senator inhofe. he's got a good team. he will do a tremendous job. it's a privilege to see new this position, my friend. everybody on this table knows i'm not unkind. but i want to begin by also
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congratulating you on the paris accord. we had secretary zinke in here testifying about his budget and he made the point i thought succinctly. it was a bad deal for the united states. it just simply was with all due respect to my friends that have a different opinion. if it was a good deal, they would have put it in front of the united states senate and turned it into law rather than run the risk of having it overturned which again president obama chose to do that. and that was his choice but when we had a successor with different views that evaporated rapidly. i want to commend the president for making it crystal clear as you did in your testimony that he's ready to engage, ready to sit down. we have to have a deal better for the united states and the american people than the one we had. you've caught a lot of flack for it. i know you played a big role in it. i'm proud of the role you played and the advice you gave the president and frankly very proud of how ably you defended that decision when i've seen you on
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television and in print. you clearly know your stuff as you always did as a legislator and attorney general in our home state. very, very proud of you. now, that's enough praise for a minute. i want to congratulate you on one other thing. i can assure you you're going to be the first epa administrator that's come before this committee in eight years that actually gets more money than they asked for. you know, and that doesn't mean you'll get as much as you've had, but you'll do better than you've asked for. look, my friend, mr. joyce, alluded to it and my friend the chairman and i were upstairs a minute ago talking to secretary mattis about the defense budget. we understand budget wars and budget games. and decision was made appropriate in my view to plus up defense and a decision was made to take all of that out of nondefense. i think that was an
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appropriate dwee -- decision. president obama used to have a linkage of spending one to one. any increase in defense we had to increase domestic. that's a false narrative. you know, i actually think defense has the priority. but there's no such relationship. it's just as false to do a one, every one we do, we're going to cut one. you look at each individual function and you try to make the right decision. your job is to do exactly what you're doing. you work for the president. i would expect you to defend the budget of the president of the united states. i suspect your private counsel to the office of management and budget may have been a little bit different. i know some of your colleagues in the cabinet and they didn't agree with every decision. when the decision is made, your job to go defend it. the final decision rests here. it does rest. the constitution's pretty clear. i would never you know advise you about the constitution of the united states. you know better than i do. but the in end, we have the spending authority. we will look at this. it's important we have the president's priorities but at the end of the day, congress will make the decision. i think you're going to do
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better than you asked for. so that might be a good thing. i will tell you, i am concerned and i'll give you three areas. my colleagues we all have our particular areas of concern. you'll find one of the great common themes on this subcommittee is bipartisan cooperation on native american affairs. when i see the indian environmental program cut by $2.5 billion and see state and tribal assistant grants cut by $678 million and i see $69 million cut in the pollution grant program of the clean water act which has a section on tribal guidance, that worries me and i want to ask you this in a serious way because we talked about burden sharing. that's fine. i think that's appropriate, frankly. and i know that you will approach that seriously because i know who you are. but there's a big difference between states and localities that have taxing powers and indian tribes that don't.
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you know, they may or may not have revenue. but they cannot tax. we do not give them that power. so when you make these cuts, how will they make up those monies particularly given the biggest recipients tend to be the poorest tribes and the most isolated land masses and areas with the most limited economic tools available and with citizens by any measure in terms of economic opportunities or educational opportunities, their employment prospects are at the very bottom of the heap as we measure those sorts of things? >> first, thank you for your kind comments. and i have known the congressman for a number of years. and he is a friend. he is someone i partnered with on many endeavors and he too is serving the state of oklahoma and his country in a very, very wonderful fashion. i appreciate your leadership. and with respect to the issues that you've raised, i think
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the -- it's particularly important with respect to rural communities across the country in addition to tribal communities. as you've indicated, the tribal nations that we recognize the important role that the epa plays in water infrastructure, air attainment, facilitation around those and technical assistance. as we go through the budgeting process, i look forward to working with you and the chairman to address those concerns. >> we will. again, i know you'll be open to that. we've worked on native american issues before in our home state. i remind you that as one of my colleagues referred, these are treaty obligations. they're not generous grants. we've made certain commitments. maintaining those commitments and advancing them as this committee has is something we're serious about. one last question because i've taken a lot of time. it's not a question i know a great deal about it. i want to preface it. it's something brought up to me by constituents actually in light of this hearing but it's
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my understanding you're currently doing a review of a pesticide, herbicide sold as something called roundup. in the past, it's been i think had a label that it might have carcinogens in it, but i understand there's a new study that has not yet been released called the agricultural health study over at health and human services. but for some reason it's been held for two years. it comes to a different conclusion. as you do your review, could you look into that and see if that study is there and just make sure that your people as they make their determination have access to that data? >> i will. and i will say that i've had interagency discussions with
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secretary purdue and the department of agriculture, secretary price at hhs. it's important we collaborate and work together around these issues. and we will do that and report back. >> okay. i appreciate that. thank you, mr. chairman. look forward to working with you. >> mr. stewart. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and sir, we look forward to working with you. i know the people who know you have tremendous respect for you and we think we're lucky to have you in the position you are. i have to mimic what will mr. cole said if i could. that was in regards to the paris agreement and it was exactly the right decision. i say if someone is serious about can climate change, if they really feel that it's the threat that faces our country, you can't defend the paires accord, because it wasn't a serious effort. it wasn't a serious document.
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it costs trillion of every country competitive for china p china. as i'm going to get to in a minute, the negative impacts had impacts on us here in the u.s. which i'll show you in a moment. i did an interview earlier in the day and said i felt like the epa had their boot on the throat of america. please at least just be on our chest. that's all we're hoping for here is relief from what we believe is a sense of regulatory overreach. one more premise if i could. i think many times people start a conversation with me and say you're republican. therefore, you don't care about the environment. that's just a nutty premise. there's a reason i live out west because i love to rock climb and ski and sit in my backyard and look at the mountains. i don't want to look through ozone or haze. i think all of us are committed to protect the beautiful place that god has given us. the question is how to do this and at what cost. now to my question, if i could. you know while the country has made significant progress in reducing pollution especially ozone levels, those of us in the west are kind of hosed by this whole thing. i represent downtown salt lake
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city and very rural parts of utah. zion national park, yellowstone national park, for example. these are very remote places and yet out of compliance with ozone. and there's not a thing in the world they can do about it. it's not like there's a factors -- factories spewing or cars driving through there and creating pollution and particulate matter. it's naturally occurring. coming back to the paris ingredient if i could, princeton and noaa have said that 65% of the particulate matter is coming from overseas which is why it was nuts to allow china to continue to spew till 2030 while we pay the price for that. here we are. we have rural communities not in compliance with ozone and can't get compliant. there's not a thing we can do. the native americans living there 500 years ago would have been not in compliance with the rules proposed by the previous administration. my question to you is, will you work with us on that? you can't punish us for something we can't control. >> it's a very important
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question because when you look at background ozone levels as an example, our built to measure with precision background ozone is very important because what we ought to be focused upon with respect to our nax program, around ozone as an example, is the margin above the background. as you've indicated there are certain communities across the country if you took out all economic activity, it still would be noncompliance under the clean air act. that is something we're reviewing administratively. i will say to you that we may need the help of congress to address that. and we'll advise you accordingly on the ability to baseline ozone or background ozone and focus on areas above that that i think are important to address attainment issues. and one other thing. the cross state air pollution rule and the ability to make sure that states are sharing, you don't want one state contributing to the
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nonattainment of another state. you want to make sure that there is accountability and that steps are being taken in one state to address it downwind. so that is a very important objective and rule we have as an agency. the agencies endeavor to do that in the past. that cross state air pollution rule was actually stricken by the courts. we're trying to make sure that doesn't happen again. it's a very important priority and it is. we don't want the process of one state contributing to the nonattainment of another. we want a shared responsibility there. >> i'll conclude by saying a, we don't want one state contributing to another nor one nation contributing to another which is clearly happening. and the second thing is, if you say you may need the help of congress, all hope is lost then because we -- i'm pessimistic about being able to be convince some of my colleagues that you know, because the narrative will be republicans want to weaken clear air standards. that's not true.
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we're trying to reflect the reality there's nothing these communities can do. >> you know what's interesting, it's not just air. you mentioned transboundary with other nations. it's also mercury in our fish. there are many issues around our environmental standards we need more cooperation and partnership from our neighbors to the south and north. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. miss kaptur. >> thank you, mr. chair and also madam ranking member. i apologize for being late. we had a concurrent hearing which i had to be at. administrator pruitt, welcome. my first question i want to follow and say would you accept an invitation to travel east of the mississippi river to the great lakes and join congressman joyce and myself with a bipartisan group of elected officials to discuss the
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compromised health of lake erie? >> it would be a pleasure. i spent some time in region 5 already around other issues, the super fund issue there in east chicago. we talked about great lakes initiative and the importance that have while i was in region five and look forward to copied discuss with you and others on the committee. >> thank you very much. we'll make it convenient. and we'll make it easy. we will not serve you asian carp. we will serve you perch or pickerel. >> walleye's better. >> america really can't afford to shortchange our environment and human health. i would assume you share that belief. the budget submission, however, that is before us is simply unacceptable. and it cuts environmental protection by if one adjusts for inflation, by over a third. and it's the lowest budget request we've had in 40 years. and our part of the country is
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experiencing threats to the great lakes, the largest body of fresh water on earth. lake erie is the shallowest. it's experiencing it first. it drains the largest watershed in the great lakes. and we have increasing population in our country now. we're at 326 million. the world is 7.5 billion. they're not making any more fresh water. but we understand what environmental stress is all about and why the environmental protection agency is so important. so important to the future of this country. we thank you for your service. in your confirmation, you committed to support the great lakes restoration initiative. so the following questions you can answer yes or no. we make it easy. can you please clarify, when you said epa's 2018 budget submission to the white house,
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did your budget leave epa with the $300 million in funding for the great lakes restoration initiative whole or zeroed out? >> that process congresswoman, as far as the submission to the agency and the passback, that's something that it's been a little while since we -- those numbers i looked at those numbers. in our discussions we talked about the importance of the great lakes initiative. >> i had a hunch. okay. your budget submission recommends also taking out $50 million of the glri's current fiscal year funding for 2017 we just passed and giving that back to treasury. $50 million. does that mean you will not be able to complete work and you probably can't answer this, to complete the clean-up of the area of concern at lorraine, ohio, on the black river? because i'm quite concerned if the administration is going to zero out glri and then take $50 million away from this year's budget, that really could stop
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work on an adjoining river that flows into the great lakes that was terribly damaged. >> yes, we'll look at the ongoing work with the particular focus on that area, congresswoman, and get information to you. but the rescission that you're referring to i think is around $369 million which includes the $50 million. that carryover typically is there. and that's not intended to be punitive toward the great lakes. just an overall pass back, rescission of the entire amount. we will look at that the particular area that you've identified and make sure the ongoing work as far as contracts that have been let that will continue during the pendency of the budget discussions. >> thank you. we were guaranteed that would happen. that scared us. we've heard it is your intention to shut down the great lakes region five office in chicago and move it out of the great lakes to west of the mississippi river to kansas. could you confirm for me whether
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epa intends to do that? >> that's pure legend. as far as the discussion about moving or there's no consideration presently with respect to any regional offices about moving them one location or another. that is something that we've not -- i'm not sure where that came from. i was visiting region five. the east chicago super fund site. as i went into to region five, there was media reports that somehow region five was going to be moved. that's not been something we had discussed up till that point. and it's not something that's currently under discussion presently. >> thank you. epa's second largest research lab is located in cincinnati, ohio and employs $1700 scientists. subs you're proposing a 33% cut in your science budget, does this mean you will pink slip
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over 5000 epa scientists locked in cincinnati ohio. >> we will not. as i indicated earlier, the proposed cuts to personnel in this budget will be achieved through attrition. through voluntary buyouts. and through the hiring freeze that currently is in place. we have as i indicated, 20% of our workforce retirement age today. that number increases substantially over the next three to five years. >> thank you. i want to ask your help in a very specific situation. two years ago, and there is why we want you to come to ohio, toledo's fresh water supply was shut down over a weekend due to toxic algae blooms from lake erie that crept into the water treatment facility. the amount of money to fix this tri-state, bi-national environmental threat is enormous. and the responsibility for purifying the water should not simply rest with the city of toledo of a community of 250,000 that sits inside the greatest watershed of the great lakes of over 2 million people and 11 million animals. further, michigan declared lake
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erie is impaired but ohio has not declared that lake erie is impaired. indiana has said nothing and canada sit on the other side of the lake. epa has incomprehensibly accepted both of the state level determinations ohio saying nothing, michigan saying lake erie is impaired, and indiana saying nothing. within your federalist of epa's role, isn't a tri-state by -- binational and disputed body of water precisely where epa is statutorily mandated to take action? >> it's my understanding the epa has not addressed the waters of lake erie just yet. this is an area we are committed to working with all states in that region to ensure water quality standards are advanced and protected. with respect to algae blooms, the epa currently serves as co-chair of the harmful algae
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bloom and hypoxia and control act. interagency working group. we understand the importance of nonpoint source discharge into our waters. states have the primary responsibility with respect to nonpoint source regulation. it's important we provide facilitation and technical assistance as we work with them but it's very important that we work together in that regard. >> i will tell you this and end with this, mr. chairman. the cuts that you have recommended to glri whether it's omb or some of your advisers there, on top of the 35% cut to the section 106 clean water act state implementation grants means that ohio will have a 30% cut to its budget from that 106 cut. and with the cuts in glri and so forth and the lack of clarity on what we can do to handle this massive water threat. this is why we want you to come to ohio. >> i look forward to visiting with you. >> thank you.
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>> mr. jenkins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. administrator pruitt, thank you for being here. thank you for your new role. a lot of very nice things have been said about the leadership from you and this administration from paris to right sizing the agency. i want to associate myself with those accolades and compliments. a couple of quick things. i think have you heard very clearly around this table and i know you feel it, as well, we all appreciate, we want, we love clean air and clean water. in west virginia, our mountains and forests are second to none. but we are an energy state in west virginia. we have coal, natural gas, oil. but we're also a human resource state with the hardest working people i would put up against anybody in this country. and your predecessor, candidly and the prior administration did everything it could to put west virginia out of business.
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and put west virginians out of work. i respect my colleague from across the aisle from washington worrying about his 3200 employees from puget sound at risk of losing their jobs. in west virginia, as a result of the prior administration, we did lose over 10,000 direct jobs of coal mining, good jobs. we put so many people on the unemployment line because of the actions of the prior administration and the prior epa administrator. so as chairman frelinghuysen mentioned a minute ago, the power of the purse. i know i have been working here in this committee to try to use the power of the purse to influence. the direction and the work of the epa and the policies and i simply want to say thank you for creating signs of hope and opportunity for the hard working
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people of west virginia. we do have coal mines that are opening up. we have got people going back to work to create a sense of hope and opportunity in their lives. so i want to thank you for that. a couple of questions. number one, i just want to make sure it's clear for all to hear and see and listen. does this administration make it a priority of having an all of the above energy policy? >> yes, congressman. i think that's important as you look at how we generate electricity in this country, we need to have truly fuel diversity because as we have 1% growth in our gdp, there's not as much concern about grid stability and grid security but as we see 3 to 4% growth, it's important that utility companies across this country actually have diversity portfolios in which to generate electricity. that includes coal. you can store and this is
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important with respect to energy security. you can store solid hydrocarbons on site. there's only so much natural gas you can get through a pipe. if there's an attack opt transportation system, it puts your ability to generate electricity at risk if you have a heavy reliance on any particular fuel source in generating electricity. like a business, having one client or two clients and if you lose that client, your business goes away. it's important that the american citizens know that our price per kilowatt compared to europe compared to other nations is very, very competitive, in fact, it provides us the ability to grow a manufacturing base and the stability of our grid is important. so our focus should be on using innovation and technology as decisions are made whether it's hydro or nuclear or coal or natural gas or oil in the generation of electricity, we use innovation and technology to achieve the lowest emission standards possible in each of the areas we regulate under our program or otherwise. >> so this administration and you in the leadership role of
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the epa do see a future for coal. >> i believe it's essential that again, we have a very robust fuel diversity and how we generate electricity in this country and we already see the optimism across the country. you cite that. it is absolutely an all above strategy. >> thank you, three quick areas. clean power plan, wotus, 2015 ozone, in this subcommittee, thanks to the leadership of the subcommittee on cpp, we put riders in the funding bills to make sure cpp did not pursue further implementation under the prior administration. under wotus, we helped halt funding for implementation of wotus using that power of the purse. i proudly sponsored an amendment under the 2015 ozone and the funding mechanisms through this process to bar the epa from moving the goal post.
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is the work we have done in this committee resonate and moving forward with this administration and the work of the epa understanding that we are matching up in priorities on those issues and others? >> yes, and let me say because there's been a couple of questions and discussion points about clean power plants specifically. i think it's important to recognize that with respect to wotus and cpp that the u.s. supreme court and the former -- excuse me, in the latter issued a stay against the actual implementation of the rule and you don't get a stay, as you know, from the u.s. supreme court or any court unless there's a likelihood of success on merits. the uncertainty that was created with respect to the steps taken by the epa to regulate under the clean power plan and also under wotus, the environmental objectives were not achieved. we're in the process of withdrawing both the 2015 wotus rule in addition to the cpp that was issued, as well and we will
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take steps on wotus, we'll have a final rule that will provide a definition for waters in the united states by the fourth quarter of this year, no later than the first quarter of next year because that's the job of the agency. congressman, i would say to you that goes to the heart of my comments in my opening statement. when an agency acts in excess or inconsistent with the statutory framework, lawsuits occur. it creates uncertainty in the market place and the environmental objectives that are focussed upon are not achieved. >> one very brief new source review. we have a number of coal-fired power plants across the country that would like to invest for improved efficiency, keep that base load available, that grid security. i'm working with congressman griffith to develop legislation to bring some predictability for those power plants that continue to operate that we can improve
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efficiency. i welcome the opportunity to work with you and your office. do you have any thoughts about reforming new source review to encourage investment to give the predictability our power generators need to make investments today knowing that the rules won't be changed on them in the fume? >> it's a very important area because you have businesses and industry across the country that literally want to investment in some instances hundreds of millions of dollars in existing facilities to produce better outcomes on emissions but as they do so, it triggers new source performance standard requirements that disincentivizes that. we should work together to provide clarity, to encourage that kind of investment, because it's good for the environment. and it's good to provide that certainty to those that want to invest to achieve those
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outcomes. >> look forward to working with you on that legislation we're drafting. thank you. >> mr. amodei. >> it's good to see you again. i hadn't planned on this but i want to straighten something up that my colleague from the buckeye state had talked about. actually, region five isn't going to move to kansas. it's going to move to winnemucca, nevada. but the water from lake erie when it's drained is going to be treated in kansas before it's delivered to nevada to facilitate the lake bed of lake erie. >> we haven't had this discussion. [ inaudible question ] >> i think that's yucca mountain. it's all good into thank you very much. >> mr. administrator, i want to echo the comments of my colleague from the sooner state in terms of there's been a lot of discussion about the budget and as a history guy, i think it's important to note that the congress has cut the agency
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quite a bit before you got there. and quite a bit recently in relative terms. and so speaking only for myself, i would expect to take those cuts into account and echo my colleagues' sentiments about you may be the first person to get more than you asked for because, quite frankly, as many people have made the point, nobody is standing on the rooftops begging for dirty water and dirty air and dirty soil and those sorts of things. i hate to do this publicly, but referring to the budget by the name of the director of omb i think is beautiful and appropriate and if anything kind compared to what he probably deserves. so i think i like that in terms of giving you a pass on that. beyond that, i will tell you this. i've got some issues that i want to talk. but we've had some success dealing with your agency through
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your liaison folks and with the folks out in region nine, actually. and so we'll look forward to getting on the calendar of the appropriate folks in the agency. and dealing with those specifically in the coming days. so thank you very much. i appreciate the fact that on several occasions you've made the point you're a process person and so when these things go forward, whether it's the paris accords or a rule that that due process that's supposed to go through there and the public opportunity is important stuff and when that is gone through, things tend to take care of themselves. thank you very much. i appreciate your help working with us on water from ohio and we'll talk with you offline. >> if i might, i really appreciate the reference to process and there's a reason why this body, why congress has said that the administrative procedures act sets forth very strict guidelines on how we do rule making that we introduce a rule, propose a rule, we take comment from citizens and states and industry across the country.
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and our job as an agency is to take those comments and respond to them on the record and make an informed decision as we finalize the rule. the reason that process matters is that's how you reach consensus. that's how you reach an informed decision that actually takes into consideration all the various regions across the country, the impact of a rule economically, the impact of the rule on the environment. when that process is not respected, it actually contributes to bad outcomes. so i mentioned that to you in my opening comment because it matters to i think the success of working together. and we're going to do that. and refocus our attention there. we shouldn't regulate the litigation. one of the things that was a very, very it still remains a very difficult challenge is we inherited a host of consent decrees. and those consent decrees sometimes change the very statutes that you have passed. time lines that you've established, substantive obligations you've but the in the statute. that the shouldn't be. you shouldn't have a court
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process litigation yield to a change in statute that congress has passed. so this process focus is something that i think will yield good outcomes along with really keeps focus on what is our authority and meeting the timelines that congress set. and that's the reason tosca update that you passed last year is so important that we meet those deadlines, those rules being put out, the rff issue, the rvos that are supposed to come out every november that provide certainty in the marketplace. that has not been met in many years, and so we're going to meet that deadline in november. so i appreciate your comment about the process component and something that we take seriously. >> thank you. ms. mccollum. >> thank you, mr. chair. i want to restate something i think that was touched on by several members here, that the budget cuts, the categorical grants, the charge of 40% will be a non-starter here.
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states rely heavily on the grants, so do tribes. even an environmental report, on average 27% of state environmental budgets, that's over a quarter of the state's budget. i think it is really important to restates have the ability to return this responsibility back to the epa. so we have to keep this partnership moving forward. you mentioned in closing up here as we're coming to the end about working together. so one of the things that i asked secretary zenke because sometimes there are things kind of out there happening and people are talking about, you know, no one is responding back to my letters. so if you could please tell me, is there a policy or a guidance we could share with the chairman and i on what we can expect for timely responses to both the chairman and i and other members of congress when we submit letters -- we're hearing that some committees are only going to respond to chairmen, some are
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not going to respond to rank and file members. do you have such a policy, and if so could you share it with us? >> you know, it is something -- i appreciate the question because as i went through the confirmation process i met with roughly 40, 45 senators, democrat and republican, many who were not on the committee because i wanted to hear their concerns. since being sworn in i have been on capitol hill multiple times meeting with the democrat and republican members. it is my belief it is my job to respond and serve all members of congress, and i look forward to doing so. i mentioned actually i was in east chicago, as i indicated earlier, with senator donnelly on that important superfund site that needs new leadership. so that's something that there's not a policy that -- that recognizes majority versus non-majority. >> well, i will call you if i don't think i'm getting a timely response. another thing that's just been in the news, and i'm sure -- well, i'm not sure, i know you
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saw it. that there were reports that you failed to disclose e-mail accounts that you had while you were attorney general, the one that it is kind of distressing because at your hearing you said you only had two e-mail addresses, and now this third one came forward. so you weren't completely accurate at the time. senator whitehouse said that you had several opportunities to correct the record on your e-mails. he -- in fact, he has a letter that i'm going to submit for the record that goes on to say it's been through public disclosure of your e-mails that congress learned of your relationship with energy companies that now regulate the epa. so i'm -- i'm -- i want to for the record -- and you can get back to us as to what you're using for e-mail addresses as epa administrator, what other
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forms of electronic communication that you're using because i want to build a level of trust between all of us. so -- >> if i may, both in my oral testimony as well as there's a letter actually i submitted to the epw committee in may that recognized multiple state e-mail accounts. so there's been a consistency there. the representations that you are citing are not accurate. so we've informed the committee, that was consistent with my oral testimony. i will provide you information about current activities as well. >> one of the things that has come forward and that i've been following is, you know, when you were attorney general you had a different job than you have now. and you had a lot of correspondence with devon energy, who was aggressively challenging rules proposed by the epa. you sent a letter to the epa while you were ag in oklahoma
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urging that the epa over estimated pollution from natural gas wells, and the letter very closely reflected what lawyers from devin energy -- and this was also something that's been in the public. just last month the "new york times" is now reporting that devin energy is re-evaluating their settlement posture for illegal illegally emitting 80 tons a year of hazardous chemicals which is a known carcinogen. the company is backing away from an agreement to install a system to detect and reduce leaks of dangerous gas. additionally, the company now after agreeing and admitting it violated the law is backing away from a proposed settlement which had a six figure penalty claim, back to the taxpayers, down to $25,000. based on your relationship with devin energy when you were
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attorney general, how do you plan on -- on handling this issue? are you going to recuse yourself, because now you're at the epa? is someone else going to be looking at it? because as you said, we want to work together, and so i bring these articles up not -- not to play gotcha politics but to create an honest and open dialogue about how the epa is going to be conducted so we can work together. >> i appreciate you not making presumptions, ranking member, and i would say as far as enforcement is concerned i talked about that in my opening comment. enforcement matters to me. you mentioned my time as attorney general. we had a grand jury that i led. we had significant enforcement activities. i understand there are bad actors in the marketplace. there are individuals and companies that discharge toxins and pollutants into our water and need to be prosecuted. there are people that engage in
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fraud with respect to rff. there are folks that violate permits that we've established with regard to air. i'm trying to respond to your question here. >> i know you are, but at the same time you are painting one side of it. you also filed multiple lawsuits. >> we won those lawsuits because of the agency not acting within the authority of this body. the reason lawsuits were filed, 31 states filed a lawsuit against the epa for the rule is because they acted outside their authority. the reason 27 states sued the epa in the clean power plant, it is the same thing. this body ought to be very jealous of any agency of the executive branch vaunting the framework you have established under any statute. >> thank you. real quick, only person i have been able to ask any questions, so one thing i wanted to bring up -- and i mentioned this up in my opening statement, the deer
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program. the agency noted 10.3 legacy diesel fleet engines are still in use. also in the report the epa estimated over one million of the oldest and dirtiest diesel engines will remain in use until 2030. the inland empire in california where i live, which is part of the south coast air quality district which i talked about before which has been non-attainment for ozone as long as the federal standard for ozone has existed, but it is not for a lack of trying. you know, as i mention, we have been regulating air quality longer than any other area on the planet, and implementing some of the most stringent air pollution control measures. we have done all we can do to reduce emissions from stationary sources. our issue are the amount of cars and trucks and you mentioned mobile sources, that's the problem. we also have two of the largest port facilities in the united states, the port of l.a. and the
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port of long beach, which is responsible for 40% of all u.s. container cargo in the united states. these containers are loaded on to trucks that then travel through my district to the rest of the country, so mobile forces contribute to about 80% of the air quality in the south coast region. of course, you know that part of california, i think there's about 20 some, 26, 27 million people who live in the los angeles basin. we have made significant progress in improving air quality, however, largely due to the topography, large volume of transportation occurs in and around the inland empire. we need additional resources to make those improvements. that's why we fund the target air shed grant program, provide additional resources to areas across the nation that need help to meet air quality standards. the same is true for deer grant. as i mentioned in my opening statement i appreciated the announcement with flexibility
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for the implementation of the 2015 ozone standard because communities are starting to work to meet the 2008 standard. the fiscal year 2017 omni bus directed the epa to send a report to congress regarding administrative options for regulatory relief as states and communities attempt to comply with both the 2008 and 2015 standards. in response, epa has convened a task force as you mentioned to examine what options there may be available. so my question real quickly is in your opinion how can we accelerate the process for some of these communities to reach their attainment goals? >> well, i do want to address deara for a second. i think it is an important program. the gao has found a duplication across several agencies and the mission behind it is right and we believe it should be funded. i think this committee should give direction on how it should be funded, that we are committed
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to that deera program and believe it is important however you choose to achieve that. with respect to how do we improve attainment, think a lot of it, mr. chairman, are restoring that joint cooperation through com plienls and assist answer, ee equipping those at the local level to achieve better outcome, but i think some may be legislative. i believe addressing some of the issues we talked about earlier with ozone is something that this body ought to consider. but air attainment in our next program is some of the best work we can do as a nation to impact health out come. it should be the absolute priority of our agency working with congress to achieve those outcomes. >> thank you. as i mentioned when we started the meeting, we were trying to finish this by 1:00 because we have a meeting of the full committee i have to attend. any real quick comments, we're
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going to wrap this up? seeing none, i appreciate you being here, administrator pruitt. very quickly, mr. kilmer. >> i appreciate it, chairman. i will keep it quick. my colleague from oklahoma in our last hearing actually made i think a very thoughtful comment about the generational burden of debt. there's a lot of moms in this room who are concerned about the generational burden of climate change on the next generation and the inability of our government to do something about it. i appreciate your -- i understand that there's going to be a difference on the paris climate accord. what i don't get is the complete elimination of some of the programs that are not even mandatory, things like the energy star program. you know, there's a whole list of them in your budget. the natural gas star program, which is a voluntary program to reduce methane leak. things like the combined heat and power partnership to promote use of wasted heat, saving both
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energy and walter and reducing pollution. if you can just take a quick minute to help explain why all of those programs are wiped -- >> i'm going to work with you to make sure that we address those issues. i suspect he has to defend his budget but i'm going to work with you to make sure that we work with that. >> thanks. >> any other comment? without -- i'm sorry, i've got to get to a meeting. i appreciate your attendance. >> thank you very much. we're adjourned.
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c-span's washington journal live every day, with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday morning, sarah cliff of vox and luis rovsky of the wall street jurn discuss future of health care. and georgetown's anthony carvale
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talks about the apprenticeship program. be sure to watch washington journal live tuesday morning and join the discussion. tuesday the senate armed services committee holds a hearing on the nomination of patrick shanahan to be deputy defense secretary. we will hear questions on budget costs, the ongoing dangers of isis and sending more u.s. troops to afghanistan. that hearing is live at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span3. also tuesday, interior secretary ryan zenke testifies on the president's 2018 budget request for his department. he will speak in front of the senate energy and natural resources committee. we begin live coverage at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. later in the day federal communications commission will hear testimony from the fcc chair and commissioners. they spent before senate appropriations subcommittee live at 2:30 eastern on c-span3.
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on wednesday, former homeland security secretary jeh johnson will testify on russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections. be speaking before the house intelligence committee. you will be able to watch live starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span3. you can watch online at or stream on the c-span radio app. up next, remarks from l.a. times, washington bureau chief david lauder on the first 100 days of the trump administration. he was join by several university of southern california political science professors as they looked at trump supporters and voters and polling collect by usc before the election. this is about 90 minutes. [ inaudible ] on behalf of the institute, political science department [ inaudible ] welcome to the next in a series of conferences that we're holding


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